Actress Rosie Perez recalled for jurors on Friday how her friend, Sopranos star Annabella Sciorra, revealed to her that she’d been sexually assaulted in her apartment by producer Harvey Weinstein.
Perez, the 55-year-old Emmy-nominated actress, testified in Manhattan Supreme Court that she called Sciorra one “chilly” night in 1993 “to hang out, to go to a night club, to have fun.”
But Sciorra, now 59, answered in a “very strange whisper of a voice,” and explained that something bad had happened to her, she said.
“She was talking in this very strange whisper of a voice as if she was hiding from someone,” Perez said.
When questioned further, Sciorra started to cry as she told her friend that she’d woken up on the floor with her “nighty” up, Perez recalled.
“I think I was raped,” Sciorra allegedly whispered to her longtime pal.
Perez said that Sciorra refused to name her attacker or call the authorities, simply repeating “I can’t” before hanging up the phone.
“I kept trying to call her back all night long because I was so upset. And she wouldn’t pick up the phone,” Perez testified.
It wasn’t until 1994, after Sciorra had a disturbing run-in with the toppled titan in a London hotel, that the actress revealed the identity of her assailant, Perez said.
“She told me that it was, in fact, Harvey Weinstein who raped her,” Perez said.
“She swore me never to tell anybody,” she added. “I told her to go to the police, and she said, ‘I can’t. He will destroy me. He will destroy my career.’”
The Do The Right Thing actress’ testimony supports rape allegations made by Sciorra, who testified for six hours on Thursday at Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial. Sciorra told jurors that in the winter of 1993 Weinstein showed up at her door and forced himself inside her 17th-floor apartment.
“He put my hands over my head to hold me back and he got on top of me and he raped me,” Sciorra said. “It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake.”
Sciorra is among six accusers scheduled to testify against Weinstein, who faces five charges, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, for allegedly performing an unwanted sex act on his former production assistant in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013.
More than 80 women, including many well-known actresses, have come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. The 67-year-old producer has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual assault.
Sciorra testified on Thursday that despite telling the Oscar winner she “did not want to have sex and was not romantically interested in him,” Weinstein pushed her onto the bed and raped her.
“I was punching him, I was kicking him, I was just trying to get him off,” the actress said. “But at some point, I stopped fighting, I didn’t have much fight left.”
After the rape, Weinstein ejaculated on her leg and nightgown, a gift from her mother’s cousin, and performed oral sex on her, she testified. She admitted to jurors Thursday that she never reported the incident to police and tried to forget it for the sake of her career and life—but told Perez about it later.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Damian Cherone questioned Perez about why she didn’t push Sciorra harder to report the assault in 1993. The lawyer also questioned Perez’s credibility, stating the actress has previously fudged the timeline about her knowledge of Sciorra’s rape.
“I was in a panic,” Perez said, while Weinstein chewed gum and looked directly at her from across the courtroom. “When you have a girlfriend who tells you something like that, you don’t know what to do. She was my very good friend. I was in shock. I was in a panic. I remember I kept calling her, crying, but she wouldn’t pick up.”